If you want a family vacation that guarantees rugged landscapes, outdoor adventures and memories that will last a lifetime, then it’s time to take your clan on a road trip across the Pacific Northwest. There are an endless number of routes, destinations and famous sites to see—we picked our five favorites to help get the planning started. Click through for details on where to go, stay and play on your getaway.
The Idaho You Didn’t Know—Boise to Sun Valley to Coeur d’Alene, Id.—595 Miles
Boise to Sun Valley: From Boise take I-84 E, US-20 E and ID-75 N 155 mi. to Sun Valley.
Sun Valley to Coeur d'Alene: Take ID-75 N/N for 60.1 mi. Continue on ID-21 S for 91.3 mi. Then take ID-55 N/State Hwy 55 N and US-95 N to Coeur d'Alene.
The Starting Line
When the summer months hit, Sun Valley can get pretty hot. Stay cool at the Rain Maker Splash Park. This family-friendly splash park is home to water features that spray—your kiddos can play for hours without overheating. It's situated among the trees, so you can relax in the shade and stay cool too.
Explore the area on horseback starting at Sun Valley Stables where you will feed and pet your transportation before going on a 1 or 1.5 hour guided tour.
Sleep under the stars! Camping in Sun Valley is affordable and even free in some areas. Boundary Campground has nine sites located on Trail Creek about two miles northeast of Sun Valley Village. If your tribe prefers to sleep indoors, book a stay at one of Sun Valley Lodge's cottages, condos or historic lodges.
Enjoy classic American fare at Perry's. This family owned eatery has a breakfast, lunch, and kid's menu, and serves up hearty specials like biscuits and gravy, French dip and mac 'n' cheese. If you are looking for something casual, Wise Guy Pizza Pie is the place to go. This place makes salads, sandwiches, and pies with ingredients like bacon, meatballs, bbq chicken and feta. Don't feel like any of the above? Get the bbq chicken wings for a meatier meal.
Coeur d'Alene is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. If your family likes to bike, hike, ski or swim, then you won't have a problem filling your time in this Idaho town. Silver Mountain Resort is open year-round with slopes for skiing and snowboarding in the winter and a bike and water park for swimming and biking during the summer. If you still have time to fill, check out the golf range or take a gondola ride.
If your clan wants a taste of the old west, head to Rider Ranch where you can explore Idaho by horseback, go on wagon and hay rides, or enjoy a family barn night.
At the end of this long trek, you are bound to want to end your days in a relaxing setting. Check into the Coeur d'Alene Resort where you can enjoy a room overlooking a lake, swim in an infinity pool or play golf on the world's only floating green. Triple Play Resort is another fantastic option. The suites are located close to Silverwood Theme Park, and they are attached to Triple Play Family Fun Park and Raptor Reef Indoor Waterpark. With this option, you may have a hard time getting the kids to leave!
Both Triple Play and The Coeur d'Alene Resort have on-site family dining options. If you feel like hitting the town to mix it up, Cedars Floating Restaurant is a great option. This dining establishment floats at the confluence of Lake Coeur d'Alene and Spokane River and provides some of the best seafood meals available in the area. For dinner with a view, it's hard to beat this option.
photo: Stones 55 via flickr
What is your favorite PNW family road trip? Share it with us in the comments below.